It’s that time of year when snow is falling at both The Summit at Snoqualmie and Crystal Mountain. The slopes are ready for skis and snowboards, but are you ready? If you plan on enjoying these winter sports, now is the time to get your body tuned up. Doing the right exercises will help you have more stamina, avoid common injuries and get more time on the moguls.
Both skiing and snowboarding require a substantial amount of leg, hip and core strength. Strong arms and shoulders, often overlooked in pre-ski training, will improve your ability to carve a turn and decrease the risk for injury during a fall. Prepare for the slopes with exercises that are slow and controlled as well as movements that are rapid and explosive.
The squat-jump requires no equipment and is as simple as squatting down and jumping as high as you can while reaching your arms overhead. This will increase leg strength and explosive power. Start with three sets of five repetitions two or three days a week. Integrating this into your Arboretum running loop will be a fun change.
Once the jump feels easier you can increase the challenge by jumping up on to a box or step. Box height can start at six inches and increase as strength and stamina improve. If you’re walking your dog by Madison Park Beach you can use a bench in place of a box, although your pup might want to join in the fun. Three sets of five repetitions is a good starting point for this exercise. Give yourself a one minute rest between sets.
A single-leg dead lift will increase hip strength and balance. Start by standing on one leg; bend forward at the hip while lifting the opposite leg behind you. Activate the hip and back muscles to return to the starting position. The abdominal muscles should be engaged throughout this movement. Three sets of five to eight repetitions is a good place to start. Add a challenge by holding a medicine ball or weights. Form and control of movement should not be sacrificed for holding heavier weights.
The coordination of muscles for skiing and snowboarding is as important as strength. Performing squats on a balance trainer (BOSU) will address both the strength and coordination of the hip and leg muscles.
The walking-lunge is a great exercise to make your legs strong for snowboarding. While standing, take a large step forward and lower down until your back knee is at a 90-degree angle and near the floor. Push up and step forward, then continue on with the other leg. Washington Park Play Field is a great place to practice the lunge. As a variation, perform a standing lunge using a balance trainer. Moving forward or to the side, plant one foot on the balance trainer and lower down into the lunge. Strong and stable hip muscles will better guide you downhill.
Oblique twists with a medicine ball will strengthen your core while improving your turning skills in snowboarding. Snowboarding involves twisting back and forth through your abdominals. Sit on the floor and hold a medicine ball with both hands out in front of you with your arms slightly bent. Lean back with your upper body and elevate your legs off the floor so you are sitting in a “V”. Rotate from side to side and touch the ball on the floor on either side. Remember to contract your midsection throughout the entire exercise as you twist from side to side.
Pushups, pull-ups and stair climbing will round-out a training routine for the upcoming ski and snowboard season. To get a program that best suits your fitness level talk with one of the training experts at MoveMend. A comprehensive training plan will keep you out enjoying our local ski resorts all season long.
Written by Aaron Shaw, OTR/L, CHT, CSCS
Certified Hand Therapist
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
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